Friday, May 24, 2013


For days, I've been trying to find the right words to persuade the people that actually read my blog, in case it is necessary to persuade them, to join the world wide protest against Monsanto tomorrow (Saturday). In my head, I hear the critical voices of friends that wonder why I get wound up over this, and I can see my friends with children using their Saturday to finally clean up the house and getting their weekly groceries. I totally understand how busy they are, and ask myself: how can I explain the importance of this to them?

By explaining to them who or what Monsanto is?
(A huge multinational from the US that once started producing chemical weapons (like Agent Orange) and has been focussing on GMO products.)

By explaining why their work method is wrong on so many fronts?
(- Farmers have to buy their seeds on a yearly basis and whenever an individual farmer by accidents gets Monsanto's seeds on his field, he still has to pay them for property rights.
- Monsanto's genetically modified seeds can only grow when they are sprayed with Roundup, a pesticide that destroys everything and is very harmfull for people and nature.
- GM products were only used for feed for cattle and pigs - which then already led to deformed animals and many deseases, but is now also used for our own food, which brings along those symptoms to the human world.)

By talking about the power of multinationals and the European Union, who is not putting the needs of its people first?
(After years of lobbying by Monsanto and American diplomats, the EU has written a law which, apart from studies about GMO products and their effects on our health, prohibits the use of non-approved seeds in the European Union. This means many European seeds races will disappear and in time you will be violating the law when you trade some seeds with your neighbours.)

By explaining that it is really time for us to wake up, rise up and tell our governments that we, the poeple, have an opinion that should be heard, as a democracy implies?

Whenever I started writing, I lost the courage. Who am I to tackle this huge subject and give enough objective information, so my friends will stop their busy lives and fight for a greater cause? While reading and watching all the information I could find online, I realized I don't need to use my words: others have done it much better. (The quotes above come from the Dutch March Agains Monsanto Amsterdam Facebook Page.)

So hereby, I call for your attention! Take some time and surf the net. Read, watch films and try to educate yourself about the world we live in. If you still don't see any need for action, then don't do anything. But if you happen to feel discomfort, a feeling of disbelief, anger and the will to take action, then do something. Be like a hummingbird in a burning fire (see the second film).

And be inspired by Rachel Parent, who really believes in what she's doing!

Wake up!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


It was July 2002 and I was flying back to Europe heavy heartedly after having traveled for eight months. I was done with packing my stuff and carrying around my backpack, but I wasn't ready to leave the big wide world yet. That first trip had awoken the travel bug in myself, and I couldn't wait to discover other places. The world slowly passed underneath us, while I pressed my nose agains the airplane window, looking for new destinations.
We flew over mountains. Endless mountains, empty and dry, without any sign of forrest or water covering the brown dirt. I looked at the flight schedule to see where we were: Afghanistan.

Since that flight, that moment of astonishment about the vastness, and knowing that there are actually people living there, I want to see it myself. My discovery happened a few months after the US invaded the country in their search for Al Qaida, which has delayed my plans, and will do so in the near future.

In the meantime, Afghanistan and its people still fascinate me, and it is still with wonder that I watch reports and documentaries about them. At the moment, the Dutch broadcasting network VPRO has a series by journallist Natalie Righton, who moved to Kabul in 2010 to report from inside out. Though it is clear how dangerous it is to live there as a western woman, her story also feeds my desire.
One day. One day I will see it for myself.

Extreem leven

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Online friendship

Whenever I'm abroad, I realise how precious friendships really are. The absense of my friends makes my daily life a lot quieter, and boring. I realize how their presence always inspires and feeds me and how I enjoy having them around.
Nowadays, it's practically impossible to not stay in touch, thanks to social media and the internet, who make distance a relative concept. I have daily chats with friends on Facebook, I Skype at least once a week with friend A. and exchange long emails with M. about the Important Stuff in Life.

Over the last years I - and I am probably not the only one - have had many discussions about the online versus the wordly friendships. Being an advocate and consumer of social media, I love being able to learn about the lives of my online friends, even if I don't see them often in the offline world. I personally think social media don't devalue friendships, they mainly create the opportunity to maintain friendships that wouldn't exist otherwise. I know people who I rarely see in daily life, who I've met while traveling and who I consider to be dear friends of mine.

Like my friends Sam and Heinrich, who gave me a ride eleven years ago in New Zealand and who I've seen four times since, in different places on this earth. I don't know anything about their daily life, their favorite restaurants or how their house looks like. But I know who they are, what they do and where they live. I know they have a dog and two cats and that they love to travel, and thanks to Facebook I can see glimpses of their daily life. Whenever we meet again, it feels like we just saw each other yesterday. On one hand that is thanks to the social media and on the other hand, it's because they are great guys and our friendships apparently doesn't need weekly updates. Knowing that these gentlemen are living their life on the other side of the world and are also a part of my life, even though it might be small, is very dear to me.

The American Paul Miller was offline for the last year, but last week, he got reconnected to the online world again. He concludes some interesting things about the pros and cons of our online life.